There have been eight human cases of Influenza A H3N2v, Swine Flu, reported in Michigan, and one person has been hospitalized. All the confirmed cases had exposure to swine at county fairs during July and August, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Agriculture and Rural Development report.
The departments report the county fairs were in Muskegon, Cass and Ingham counties.
The departments are working closely with local health departments, the healthcare community and fairs to protect swine exhibitors and the public to identify any additional cases.
While visiting fairs, the departments are urging fairgoers and animal caretakers to follow proper biosecurity processes like regular hand washing with soap and water, disinfecting wash areas at least once each day and making sure it has time to dry thoroughly after being disinfected.
According to the release, there were six cases of Swine Flu in 2012, and two cases in 2013 in Michigan. Human infection is thought to happen when an infected pig coughs or sneezes, and droplets with the influenza virus land in someone’s nose or mouth, or inhaled.
Symptoms are usually mild, and similar to those of seasonal flu viruses, but as with the seasonal flu, complications can lead to hospitalization and death, states the report.
Symptoms include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough and runny nose, as well as body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Some populations are at higher risk of developing complications if they get influenza, including children younger than five years of age, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions.
Currently, there is no vaccine for H3N2v, and the seasonal flu vaccine will not protect against it, says the release.
Here are some steps from the departments to help protect against the illness, and the spread of it:
• Anyone who is at high risk of serious flu complications and planning to attend a fair should avoid pigs and swine barns
• Do not eat or drink in livestock barns or show rings
• Don’t take toys, pacifiers, cups, baby bottles, strollers, or similar items into pig areas
• Avoid contact with pigs if you have flu-like symptoms. Wait seven days after your illness started or until you have been without fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, whichever is longer
• Avoid close contact with sick people
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way
• If you are sick, stay home from work or school until your illness is over
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